Journal entry by Deborah Lewis

(Actually, this journal entry is by Steve.  Deb posted it on Caring Bridge for him.)

Yes, it has been months.  More eventful months -- in a challenging way --  than we would have hoped for. Despite my health challenges, since my last entry in Caring Bridge we have enjoyed a very lovely winter and spring in Scottsdale / Carefree AZ, at our new desert casa.

Unlike most of North America, we had great weather.  It’s been mostly unusually cool and wet for down here.  Perfect!! Highs in the mid 50s – 70s. Rain nearly every week.  Even an inch of snow this winter for the first time in 30 years.

Unfortunately, storms have not been limited to the weather.  Over the winter, I’ve had one set-back after another. Starting January with a tough fungal infection that is still persistently resisting a cure.  Then, late February I got a bacterial infection that took me very swiftly into septic shock. Bad stuff. Within a few hours of feeling a little chill, thank God, Deb rushed me to emergency, where they fought to keep my kidneys, heart and lungs from shutting down for 15 days.  The great pulmonary team at Norton Thoracic / St. joseph’s hospital pulled me back from the brink.

However, it took a toll, weakening me significantly.  I just spent another week at St. Joe’s with follow up complications.

I’m getting regular reminders from staff and other transplant folks that transplants are not for sissies.

However, I want to make very clear that as tough as this road has been, Deb and I wouldn’t change a thing.  (Well - maybe a few less infections.)

Of course I have been exceptionally blessed to share the last 32 years with a strong, smart and very easy to look at, wonderful partner.  In football terms “I way out kicked the coverage.” (Means I surprised myself, and most others, and kicked the proverbial football way over everyone’s heads, creating spontaneous chaos for the other team, and room for a good life for us!)

The lung transplant journey has been another great adventure, starting with the frightening diagnosis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in September of 2016, through the Transplant on April 11, 2018.  Since then we have been blessed with over a year of “bonus time” together, and with all of you.

Since the summer of 2016, Deb and I hit our bucket-list of trips as long and hard as we could, with wonderful friends (Mexico, Greece – Bike & Barge - and an Alaska Cruise.)

One of our biggest highlights  is the purchase and rehabilitation of this little casa near Carefree/Cave Creek AZ.  Deb and I have always collaborated well on big projects (blending families and our Jeremy home for starters).  We are the very proud parents of this one, too. No consulting lawyers, or threats to hold our breaths until either of us turned blue to get our way on remodel or furnishing decisions.

Twisting a hackneyed phrase, maybe “It actually takes a village to make a village.”  If I had to pick just one highlight of the last two years it would be our return to Park City, and our 30th Anniversary Party last September 2018.  It still gives me goosebumps when I think of that reunion of a lifetime of cherished friends and family (about 90 all together).  So many smiles, and so much love and laughter. I will never be able to fully express how much that meant to Deb and me. Your love and friendship have made it possible for us to overcome the endless challenges -- and celebrate the extraordinary joys -- of living, raising four independent kids, and the building and selling of two businesses.  The more recent Bryce Canyon Visitor Shuttle contract is my retirement project that goes a long way toward keeping me feeling both useful and able to use my long-honed skills. Our village-community strengthens and lifts all of us up.

Wherever this lung journey leads us, we are forever grateful to you all!

Your love and friendship have given us a wonderful life.  Our hearts overflow with that love and gratitude.

May God Bless You Always

P.S.  If you haven’t yet, please declare yourselves as organ donors.  One Donor can save or enhance dozens of lives. When you have “shed this mortal coil,”  as we all will, pass life on! Also, it may be a little corny, but attached (in the photo bin) is a feature story that appeared in our local Terravita Times Magazine.

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